Nearly 9000 feet of yellow ribbon now adorn nearly everything in Wylie, TX. If you drive down the streets of Wylie, you can't miss them. They're tied lamp posts, benches, and even trash cans.
I was told if i stood still for too long, I'd leave Wylie wearing a yellow ribbon.
Those who organized this yellow ribbon campaign say it's the least they could do to honor on of their own.
"He was my brother," said Lauren Gebhardt, who put the yellow ribbon campaign together. She meant he was as close as a brother. Gebhardt grew up best friends with Lt. Robert F Welch's older sister.
The loss of Lt Welch hit his hometown hard.
"(He was) just a great guy. Wonderful, wonderful friend. He was that to many, many people," said Gebhardt.
This was Lt Welch's first deployment to Afghanistan. He'd been there three months.
"He always wanted to a be a soldier," said Lindsie Kline, Gebhardt's sister.
"He's wanted to be a soldier since, I think, he was in diapers. I don't ever remember a time when he didn't play with toy soldiers," said Gebhardt.
It's those memories that brought out around 500 people Sunday afternoon to color Wylie with support.
"Lieutenant Welch was from here. He's one of our own. So, we wanted to show our honor toward him," said Lance Goff. Goff, along with 30 boy scouts, placed 500 American flags around Wylie, too.
"If it stands still, put a ribbon on it. That's what I said," joked Gebhardt.
"Hopefully the businesses won't get mad," said Kline, tying a ribbon to the doorknob of a downtown business.
So many supporters came out that downtown Wylie was covered with ribbons in mere minutes.
"I didn't think they'd get it near this fast," said Kline.
Their effort made it almost difficult for Kline to find something that didn't already have a ribbon on it.
"They beat me out here faster than i thought they would," said Kline.
"Huge outpouring of love for the family, and support for troops everywhere," said Gebhardt.
Standing under a flag at half-mast, with a new memorial in place, having more support than you expected could never be a problem.
"It just shows how well of a community it is. Even if he didn't touch their lives, they're still here supporting the troops," said Sgt. Joshua Burlison.
"It's just a testament to the kind of man that Robbie was," says SSG Matthew Young.
Gebhardt organized the campaign to show the Welch family what the community thought of him. Lt. Welch leaves behind a wife and two young sons.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times